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Can't separate lab from community

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By The Staff

Life's an adventure for Johnnie Martinez, acting director of the Community Programs Office (CPO) at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). During an interview in his office Thursday afternoon, he described the unique journey he takes to work from his home in Velarde.

"As I travel to work on my 37-mile commute, I drive past an irrigation ditch that's been in use since 1599, when it was constructed by European settlers who came here to farm," Martinez said. "I drive through the lands of three Native American Pueblos that have been occupied for centuries. Then I arrive to work at an institution with a mission ranging from stewardship of the nuclear stockpile to determining if there's water on Mars. That short 37-mile, 50-minute trip spans centuries of history, culture, tradition and technology. There aren't many places in the world where you can do that."

Martinez has worked at LANL for 32 years. He stepped into the acting director's position earlier this month following the departure of Lillian Montoya-Rael who joined a financial company in Santa Fe.

"This laboratory helps shape the world we're living in and it's a fascinating experience to work here," Martinez said.


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